Friday, August 8, 2014

Chapter 10


He closed the bay door behind us and then threw his pack on the hay that lay several feet thick upon the floor.  He snorted in irritation.  “Look at this.”  Not the easiest thing to do considering how dark it was.  “Jace needs to take the boys in hand again.  They seem to think smithing is the only thing they have to do around here.  At least we’ll have a soft bed for a change.”  He looked at me and pointed vaguely in the direction of the pack.  “There’s a blanket in there.  Lay it out and I’ll be back after I make sure they haven’t left the horses standing around in their sweat.  There’s a packet of pemmican as well if you want something to eat besides those berries you gathered us during the day.” 

I did as he bid me but decided the effort of eating wasn’t worth worrying mice would join us in our slumber, then stopped to clean the burn on my hand.  I had my skirt lifted and was cleaning the burn on my shin when Gid returned.  He took one look and said, “Now that’s something nice to find.” 

I froze, unsure of what to do.  He must have sensed my unease because he moved slowly.  He pulled his shirt tail out of his pants and then pulled it over his head revealing a bare chest.  I turned my eyes away when he caught me looking.  He took his boots off, set them where he could find them in the dark if needed and then crawled up beside me on the blanket running his hand along my bare calf.  “I’m not those other men Yulee.” 

I began to wonder if I should say something.  I even started to and then he surprised me by kissing me and his actions said the time for talking had passed. 

A while later I sat with my cloak wrapped around me. It felt strange and scratchy against my bare skin.  Gid was sitting also, his back to me.  “You should have said something.” 

“Why?” 

“Because.  I … I coulda … I woulda been more … less …”  He sighed.  “You should have said something.  Why didn’t you?” 

“I …”  I owed him the truth even if it hurt him though I didn’t want to make him feel worse than he already seemed to.  But if I lied and he caught me at it later … no, better to tell the truth now and deal with the hurt now.   

“Well?  I’m waiting.” 

I shrugged.  “I wasn’t … I wasn’t sure if it mattered.” 

He turned to look at me in surprise.  “Wasn’t sure that it mattered?  You let me think that … that you’d been bedded before.  What if I had really hurt you?” 

“You didn’t.” 

“I did … a bit.” 

“The Sisters said that was natural.” 

He snorted.  “It don’t need to scare you to death.  I didn’t realize … you were so still … I thought …”  In frustration he demanded, “Didn’t you trust me enough to tell me to stop or at least slow down?” 

Quietly I answered, “It has been a while since I had someone to trust … and never a … a … um … never a lover.” 

He switched his body around and then I turned since he wasn’t wearing a cloak, or much of anything at all.  He barely noticed since he seemed intent on growling, “Well you do now.  The shame of it is that it’s too late for me to make this better.  We both need to sleep because if I know Lurna she’ll already have the day planned down to the minute and it will be designed to irritate me on purpose.  And between her pulling us to and fro I need to see that you’re properly kitted and get to the market and pick up the last few items so that we can get out of here.” 

With no warning he wrenched my cloak away and slid my blouse back over my head.  “What?”  I got no further because I had to stop talking in order to spit out a wad of cloth that turned out to be my slip that had somehow gotten tied up inside the blouse.  I tried to push his hands away.  “I can dress myself.” 

“I undressed you so it’s my privilege to put your clothes back on.”  Then he sighed.  “Though perhaps on second thought you better do it after all because I’d just as soon you leave them off.  I’ve been dreaming of sleeping with you like this and before much longer it will be too cold and I’ll have missed the chance.” 

I swallowed and we both heard my throat click.  He pushed a lock of hair out of my face before saying,  “Unless I’ve … I’ve turned you off … er … being with me?” 

I sighed.  “You ask so many questions.” 

“Well this one needs an answer.” 

I sighed and tried to hide what wasn’t properly covered.  “I … I never thought much about this part of it.  I knew it would happen to me sooner or later.  The way things were it was bound to.  There have been those that have tried already.”  He growled at that but all I could do was shrug.  “I knew what you wanted me for when you bought me.  I … I didn’t run away then.”  More quietly I told him, “And I’ll not run away now.” 

He didn’t let my modesty keep him from coming behind me and putting his arms around me.  “That’s not precisely what I asked.”  He sighed and then said, “Isn’t there anything you want from me?  Anything at all?” 

I bit my lip.  I knew what I wanted to ask but I worried and then the words left me as if they’d been pushed.  “Don’t … please don’t … don’t share me.” 

His arms went hard about me and I almost couldn’t breathe.  “What?!” 

“I know you have the right.  Even your aunt said the paper was good where you bought me.  But please … don’t share me.”  I couldn’t stop the shudder that racked me. 

“Shhhh.  Easy Yulee.  I won’t share you.  I give you my word.” 

Surprised I turned to him and said, “Your … your word?  You truly promise?” 

“I truly promise.  Put that fear away.” 

For some reason I believed him and at least one knot untied itself.  I tried to catch myself when I felt us tipping over but he was having none of it.  “Come.  We need to sleep.” 

“But … my … um … my clothes.” 

“Hush.  I’ll dress you in the morning.  For now I’m determined to have some sweet dreams even if they’re short ones.”

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